In our application we have a ticket tool that allows you to create simple to complex tickets, and start a comment stream for collaboration.

Current UI: Currently we have the UI structure with comments listed from oldest-newest with pagination, with the comment form at the bottom of the page. The problem is what if you have a lot of comments? We are forcing users to scroll. Is this the correct approach?

Proposed UI 1 In my mind I think we would want to present newest-oldest comments, and put the comment form field on top so you can comment quickly before any scrolling and see the latest comments on top. In this manner we can now lazy load the comment stream and I get to choose how far I scroll, i'm not forced.

Proposed UI 2 Same as the last with comment field on top but should we keep oldest-newest descending and make the users scroll like a blog comment feed?

Which is the better experience for users?

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  • I would personally prefer to use UI 1, default newest->oldest and add a clearly vsibile sorting option to view them in the reverse order. – MonkeyZeus Apr 18 '14 at 19:36
  • Is it important to read the older comments for the newer to make sense? Or are they independent, and older comments can be ignored at times? – thursdaysgeek Apr 18 '14 at 20:51
  • the comments flow as a conversation. As activity is posted to the ticket that conversation progresses. What i'm trying to determine is how far back is important. Working on a way to try and test this or poll users. – simpson Apr 18 '14 at 21:03

I would suggest keeping your current UI with one change:

  • If you keep the pagination, put the comment field only at the end...
  • ...OR kill the pagination, and put the comment field at the end.

Either way I would make the ticket's comment conversation a prerequisite to entering into the conversation. It's important the user understands the conversation thus far in order to properly weigh into it accordingly.

If you're worried about the length of comments, you may want to somehow weight them. Maybe certain types of comments are hidden initially, or only comments which seem to spawning responses are kept so users can get the main conversation thread without having to read every little loose end.

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